sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

September 9, 2014

Things I Learned This Summer

1. The reassuring wisdom of Darling Husband is immense. Darling Daughter won a coloring contest this summer. She’s not without an artistic streak, but in the case of this particular project, she dialed it in. When we turned in her work, we thought she would learn a lesson when she finds out that she blew it because she didn’t do her best. Imagine our surprise when DH received a message that she got first place in her age category. Oh no, is she going to rest on her laurels now?
We congratulated her, but then told her that she needs to consider that not enough kids entered the contest, and that she needs to try harder next time if she wants to keep winning. I guess I have my issues. After a few days DH told me to chill: She learned an important life lesson, that, as Woody Allen said, 90% of success is showing up.
“Although,” DH quickly added, “Woody Allen tried to take his words back and made an entire documentary to repudiate it. Not to repudiate that he slept with his daughter or anything like that, but to repudiate that he believes that 90% of success is showing up.”
2. To further quote my husband, if open concept homes are such a good idea, how come nobody thought of it before? These days flippers try to demolish every wall in the house, save bedroom walls. Open concept houses look nice and zen, and they sell like hot cakes because buyers find it easy to imagine themselves living in spacious, light-filled homes.
The reality of living in them is different, and once moved in, owners begin carving out rooms of their own, mancaves, and other areas to escape family members. Also, open concept homes are not good when it comes to containing mess.
3. Who is Joel Gott?
4. Local governments can be pretty darn ridiculous. We decided to remove an old chimney on our roof, and the contractor told us that because it’s visible from the street, he’s not comfortable working without a permit. So I went to the City Hall and payed a hefty fee. The clerk told me about the paperwork I’m required to submit.
“Do you know Photoshop?” She inquired. She asked me to take pictures of the roof from various vantage points and submit them for review together with the pictures where the chimney is photoshopped out.
After I turned in my paperwork, they sent letters to our neighbors asking if they don’t mind if we remove the chimney. Next they told me to post the permit application in front of our house and mail them the picture of the posted permit.
Finally, the City Hall also wants to know if I plan to close the gaping hole in my roof and how.
5. Who is Joel Gott?
6. нет пророка в своем отечестве. I’m Putin’s troll. Or so say some of my compatriots when I point out certain… Problems with their understanding of the place where I happen to be born and raised. The place happened to be eastern Ukraine.
Everything Ukraine is pretty much inside baseball. What I hear again and again that there once was a country called Ukraine that Russia took over, starved a whole bunch of Ukrainians and brought Russians in their place, and that’s how Russians ended up in Ukraine. It’s true about Holodomor.
I do believe that we should had dispatched Kissinger to negotiate unified unaligned Ukraine and to assure Russia’s assistance in the Middle East. To risk a nuclear war (or even an economic downturn) over strongly Russian-leaning regions in a country with intractable corruption and social problem and no unifying national identity does seem a bit excessive to this blogger — and that’s why I’m Putin’s troll.
DH, again, quips that he’s still waiting for his paycheck from ZOG, and now where is his paycheck from FSB?
7. We have a new neighborhood school now. It the old one was Tijuana meets Hanoi, the new one is Portlandia. I have to say I prefer the latter because something like education does take place in it.
8. My children got in trouble this summer for simulating a gun with their hands and saying “Poof!” Daddy explained that when he was young, he had a holster with two guns in it and he played World War Two with his brother. Ah, the good old days!
9. Encouraging an ostensibly independent 7-year-old to walk down the block on her own can be a challenge these days. At first DD like the idea, but after some consideration she said “who’s going to watch me?” I told her that when I was her age and I wanted to play, I didn’t pester (ok, I used different language) my mom about my availability (her language) for play dates, I just went outside.
Next thing I know, she rolled on her scooter out of the park. That’s more like it.
…we are not fully moved in and unpacked. My desktop is not configured yet, and I hate typing on my mini, so I can’t say I’m back to blogging.

September 10, 2013

Girlfriend…

Filed under: feminism, relationships, society — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:42 pm

…what were you thinking?  Consider the following scenario:

THE end of a marriage is always sad, but divorce can be particularly devastating for a woman who still wants children but whose fertility is on the decline. Her ex may have many years left to start a new family of his own, but by the time she meets a new partner, it may be too late.

[...]

Could egg freezing help her save the last of her fertility?

That’s the hope of a 38-year-old woman who is a client of Ronald G. Lieberman, a family law attorney in Haddonfield, N.J. Mr. Lieberman is asking his client’s soon-to-be-former husband of eight years to pay $20,000 to cover her egg-freezing procedure, medication costs and several years of egg storage. “When they got married, the expectation was they would start a family,” he told me. “Now she might not have the chance much longer.” [Via Instapundit].

No word on whether her ex hooked up with a younger woman and started a family of his own.

But seriously, this woman tied the knot at 30, the age when she should be keenly aware of her fertility, and didn’t get to start a family until her marriage fell apart nearly decade later.  She can ask for all egg alimony she wants, but what good does it do if she can’t conceive a child?

She might had been a die-hard DINK — until she wasn’t — but more likely her husband got her to postpone motherhood indefinitely, and with an assist from feminists: “Yes, honey, there is so much to do, your career, travel!  Not this year.”  A-ha.  What she didn’t take into account is that 38 might be the end of the line for her, but he still feels* virile at 40, and that even though he said his vows, he had problems committing, e.g. making babies.  In a late marriage like that after a year or two it’s decision time.

Being very clear from the get-go doesn’t hurt, of course.  The “deciding together is we want children” attitude is confusing because acillating sends a signal that he doesn’t need to worry about fatherhood in the near future and possibly not ever.

An important thing to realize is that the women who don’t warn us that most will not eventually regret not having children don’t have our backs.  Most women who are childless by choice might enjoy being carefree when we are chasing tots, but they will feel very different about their choices at the end.  So be skeptical of women telling us that children are optional; they have political agendas and like to exert power over our bodies.  The fact that they can’t stop talking of bodies and power should be a hint.

____

* And possibly not aware of neurological problems of children conceived to older dads.

August 1, 2013

One Would Think The Pythons Were Anarcho-Capitalists

Filed under: politics, society, whatever — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:20 pm

We recently had to review Ministry of Silly Walks for Our Children.

“You see, there is Defense, Social Security, Health, Housing, Education, Silly Walks.”  Once upon a time liberals ridiculed the stuffy establishment.  Now they get appalled by the “no-government conservatives”.

July 9, 2013

Growing Old Is Hard To Do

Filed under: parenting, society — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:50 pm

Heather Havrilesky had her her driver’s license picture taken at 33.  Ten years later she has this to say about the woman in the picture:

Her hair looks unnaturally shiny. Her smile says, ‘I have nowhere in particular to be. Let’s go grab a cocktail!’(Via Instapundit)

It’s a strange state of affairs when a 33-year-old middle class women has nowhere in particular to be.  I should know; I was one of them myself, albeit I was planning my wedding part of that year and gestating a baby the remaining time.

I remember waiting to be four and then five and then six.  Waiting, and waiting, and whining to my mom that my Birthday just never seemed to come.  Mom always smiled: “When you are a kid time moves slowly, but when you grow up, you want it to stop, or at least to slow down.  I’m not too exited about my next Birthday because I want to stay young.  But time doesn’t stop.  It seems to go faster and faster.”  I am now older than she was when we were having this conversations.

Anticipating Birthdays in my teens didn’t seem like such a terrible ordeal.  I was fairly content with the passage of time.  And then something happened.  I turned a corner, and half of my twenties were gone.  I blamed it on the climate.  In the old country we had seasons.  Looking out of the window I would see a maple tree shedding its last leaf and babushkas doing a balancing act on newly formed ice; that’s when I knew it’s time to get the fur hat out of the wardrobe.  Another year went by.  In Northern California fashion conscious “girls” wear knee high boots with sundresses year round.  That was my excuse for wasting time.

My thirties flew by pretty quick, but at least I have something to show for it: I’m raising kids.  I can’t say I never feel nostalgic for my “have nowhere in particular to be” days.  The other day on the way to pick up the progeny I spotted a young couple walking into a bar.  Just like that.  In the middle of the day.  Then I had to remind myself about the hangovers.  20’s are not what they are cranked up to be.

Amazingly, in our frank age Heather Havrilesky managed to pen an essay on aging without mentioning the m-word.  She’s 43.  I’m 40, and I have to admit that the commercials on talk radio about women over 40 needing to exercise an hour a day just to prevent weight gain fill me with panic.  Someday soon the day will come when I will find myself reaching the age when women are no longer attractive.  And even if an aggressive facial regime and a splatter of hair die can deceive casual acquaintances, I will know the truth.  Havrietsky complained that motherhood aged her (that she shifted that stage into advanced maternal age is part of the problem).  But childbearing is a function of youth.  My young children make feel young.  It’s the knowledge that a few years down the road (if not now) I will be no longer able to bare children that really saddens me.  What’s left are wrinkles and decay.

My mother is now switching to orthopedic shoes.  I look into my closet.  Do I have another decade of stilettos?  Fifteen years?  Is a 55-year-old allowed to wear a heel over 2 inches?  When to I bestow my collection of fashionable footwear onto my daughter (if she happens to wear my size)?

July 2, 2013

SCOTUS, The Great and Powerful

Filed under: politics, society, whatever — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:31 pm

A few days ago I read an essay by Dr. Helen Smith on Puffington Host.  It was titles “8 Reasons Straight Men Don’t Want To Get Married” and was followed by a “clarification”:

From author Helen Smith: “I talked only with heterosexual men about marriage for the book. It did not include same-sex marriages. However the dynamics of same -sex marriage would be a fascinating study for future research.” — HuffPost Eds.

Good thing PuffHo gave Dr. Helen a chance to explain herself.
The federal government should finance a study or two to figure out why gay men don’t want to marry.
According to the Pew poll Dr. Helen cites, 37% of women of childbearing age say that marriage is important, but only 29% of men in that age cohort express the same opinion.  The 8% gap probably* represents a problem to women seeking fulfillment in family life.  On the other hand, if only 2% of gays and lesbians are known to wed, these family-minded queers can date their fellow 2%-ers.  Problem solved.  If there ever was a problem.  Because queers can’t mate with each other (d’oh!) and so rarely adopt other people’s children, the future of next generation is not at stake, and there is no compelling reason why society should insert itself into the legal status of their relationships.
San Francisco City Hall was practically mobbed by “dozens” of same sex couples rushing to get married the day after Prop 8 was no more.  All that pent up demand…  All right, all right, it was during the Pride weekend, so everyone was busy partying.  This year’s San Francisco’s Gay Pride parade boasted record attendance — 1.5 million, or 50% more than 2012.  So, of course, there were plenty of parties to go.
This blog predicts that queer matrimony is going to be statistically negligible, and because it’s so unusual — even though it will be right front and center in the media — gay marriage is not going to influence the lives of American families.  But, hey, LGBT activists got an affirmation.  Woo-hooo!  And the legal and social status of polygamy is something to watch.

San Francisco City Hall lit up in gay pride colors in celebration of the SCOTUS ruling (or merely for the gay pride parade). Wouldn’t it be especially meaningful to get married on Pride week and immediately after Prop 8 was overturned? Or am I thinking like a straight woman?

On the subject of married life, parenting is kicking my behind right now, which is why I haven’t been blogging much.  DH, who toured the US and Europe prior to starting family, recently had an “embarrassingly Freudian” dream in which midgets were committing identity theft against him.  In his waken hours he says that he doesn’t want to play rock-n-roll anymore.
Speaking of rock-n-roll, does George Zimmerman hate whitie?  After all, he said “Effing punks!” in reference to the intruder, and something like 95% of Punks are Caucasian.  The other 5% are white Hispanics, but never mind.  A ska song from San Francisco circa 1980 offers some deep thoughts on that subject:
And speaking of Hispanics, the other morning I heard on Armstrong and Getti that until in an unprecedented display of common sense SCOTUS ruled the whole thing unconstitutional, Monterey, CA was covered under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.  Monterey, really?  “Community activists” are not happy, of course; they must be preparing for amnesty.  We go to Monterey every summer, and I find the two-tier English/Spanish California social structure is especially pronounced there.  Go to a fancy restaurant or a hotel on Cannery Row and see elegant young white servers raking in tips.  Go to Monterey Aquarium and see signs in our two languages and all sorts of people from all over the world — but no Hispanics.  Perhaps they go there on a free for locals day, because there is certainly no shortage of middle age Mexicans in Monterey; they are taking orders in Denny’s.
And to go back to gay marriage, did you know that the majority of gays raising children are not wealthy white urbanites we see on TV, but Hispanics?  LGBT movement needs amnesty more than anyone else in this country.
…The title of this post should really be referencing the very great and very gay (not obviously so to kids) original film and not the very gay (in a different sense) remake.
* Surveys are just surveys.  People don’t admit what they really feel, and perhaps the don’t know how they feel.  Even those men who are adamant about avoiding the nuptials might find themselves at the altar, under the huppah, or in a City Hall.  If men marry at all, it’s because that’s what their women want from them.
UPDATE: Reblogged by Citizen Tom — thanks!

December 25, 2012

My Invalueable Contribution To The Never-Ending National Conversation About Guns

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:58 am

In the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook massacre, the President finally got his rationale to renew the national “discussion” “about guns”.  All right then.  We’ve talked about the Second Amendment for decades, and found that there is no way around it. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that twenty some years ago smoking in California was not restricted by any state law.  When the restaurants were required to provide non-smoking sections (it’s for the kids!) some smokers quit because, they believed, their habit will eventually become illegal.  I thought they were paranoid.  I was never a habitual smokers because I figured it’s a tough addiction to break for a woman who wants, eventually, to become a mother.  When smoking in bars was outlawed, I wowed to keep lighting up.  Some bars were turning a blind eye to it, but, given how so few people had the cancer sticks on them, I rarely found an opportunity to do so.  A year ago a friend of family was a street fair when he got in a fight with an overzealous father who felt that he was smoking too close to his baby.  The overzealous dad probably had the law on his side because our friend was too close to a restaurant.

Guns are not cigarettes.  Tobacco users were plenty aware of the damage they were likely causing to their bodies, but gun owners believe that ownership is righteous.  And while an individual can’t stockpile a lifetime worth of puffs, the firearms in possession of American citizens will last decades if not centuries.  Still, the anti-smoking regulation is something to keep in mind when considering another “assault weapon” ban.

The NRA President Wayne LaPierre put something different on the table, namely armed guards in public schools.  I’m with Just A Conservative Girl who says:

I am so astonished, flabbergasted, and appalled at the presser that Wayne La Pierre and the NRA held today.  While he started out just fine, it just got creepier and yes Orwellian as it went along.

A federal program that puts an armed guard in every school across the country?  Uh, no.  The security of a particular school system is a local/state issue, not a federal one.  Smitty over at The Other McCain accused me of being so federalist.  My reply, you’re damn skippy I am.  What conservative can get behind this suggestion?  This is something that the left would do, not the right.  Not the gun part, but the federal government control part.  I mean the irony of all this is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  Some on the right are heralding this as the great cure-all, and the left is screaming about it.  Neither of things are true.
First and foremost, I am 100% against forcing a teacher to become a gun toter.  Many teachers would not want to do this, and as an American citizen that is their right.  The second amendment says nothing about every American must bear arms, it says the government can’t infringe upon that right.  Even if the teacher was someone who liked guns, I still think it is a bad idea.  All the students would know that the teacher is armed and I believed it could be a huge distraction; especially in schools were violence is an everyday part of life for the student body.  What I would be willing to go along with would be highly trained and certified guard of some sort.  I know where I live the police department has a unit of people who are hired out to all kinds of locations, even to some jewelry stores in the area.  But only if the school system wants this type of thing.  I don’t think it should be forced on a federal level.  This is something that state/locality should decide upon.  I know here in Virginia there is discussion if our Constitution would even allow the commonwealth to force this on every school system.  A bill is expected to be put into our legislature next month.  We will see how it goes.

I also don’t understand how a conservative leader would want to see more federal intervention in public schools.  We do have armed guards at malls, but not by presidential decree, mind you.  I don’t trust the federal government with the school children.  Judging by how well DHS and No Child have worked out, I don’t want yet another cumbersome bureaucracy.  Instead of extending federal jurisdiction over our schools, we should dismantle the DOE.  But I’m glad that some localities are taking the initiative to protect their pupils.

While I believe that unthinkable events like school shootings are unlikely to happen near me.  Lenore Skenazy is always great for perspective:

It’s impossible not to feel afraid, sad, sickened and deeply pessimistic when something like this occurs. However, “something like this” — well, there aren’t a lot of somethings like this, and that’s a truth I am desperately trying to remind my heavy soul. It may feel like “school shootings happen all the time,” but they don’t. They are rarer than rare. They are as unpredictable as anything can be. And if today we find ourselves making a mental list, “Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook,” that’s because they are few enough, in a country of 300 million, that we know their names.

This does not mitigate our sorrow, but it can — with some effort — mitigate our fear. It is not to dismiss the parents’ pain that I encourage you to turn off the TV. It is to keep some perspective. The perspective that almost dare not speak its name. The perspective that the vast majority of children in America will never encounter a psychopathic mass murderer at school, and to guard them as if they will is unnecessary.

Worse, it is bordering on ungrateful.

I would like to have armed personnel on my daughter’s campus.  Not the armed guards, but armed personnel.  Teachers, janitors, principals — whoever volunteers to carry guns — and I would like their identity to be secret.  I believe that the sickos who commit mass murders do so because they can, and I want to make their planning impossible or near impossible.  If everyday people instead of uniformed guards will carry weapons, school campuses will not feel like military zones.  Not so much because our schools will be less of targets of opportunity (they will), but because it’s normal.

Harrison of Capitol Commentary argues against the armed teachers:

This idea sounds good at first but aren’t so many Conservatives lecturing people about how incompetent teachers are and now they advocate them carrying guns?  And many public schools are filled with violent children whose parents don’t bother to raise them… do we want them to play “which teacher is carrying a gun?” in the classroom?

I don’t distrust teachers as much as Harrison.  The very individuals who fill out kids brains with propaganda are willing and able to fight and die for them.  They are not necessarily bad people; they are just wrong, and I don’t think they can’t be trusted with security if they volunteer to provide it.  Dangerously violent “children” are usually teens, and that’s a whole different matter, and something that should be decided locally.

A side benefit of introducing armed personnel on campus would be an increased conservative presence.  I don’t think most teachers in our school district will agree to bear weapons.  School districts like ours will end up with new hires who are likely to be conservative, and it’s good for the kids to be exposed to people who think differently from other adults in their lives.

December 20, 2012

The 1% Psycho

Filed under: education, society — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:03 pm

The most famous crime in literature was committed with an axe.  Rodion Raskolnikov murdered the elderly pawnbroker and her sister to prove that she, the pawnbroker, is a worm but he is an ubermensch.  Dostoevsky used the story to illustrate the death of values in modernity.  Dostoevsky’s own morals are questionable, and so are his ideas about Russian history and society.  The early Russian translations of the late 19th century German philosophers whom Dostoevsky imagined to be an influence on Raskolnikov are notoriously imprecise.  And yet, in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, how come no one is talking about Dostoevsky?

what would raskolnikov do?

Don’t worry, this onsie is organic.  It’s probably not quite a joke, and I wouldn’t be surprised if zazzle.com actually sold a few of these to expecting literature lovers

We hear quite a bit about psychiatry.  According to his brother, Adam Lanza, the man who slaughtered 20 children and 6 adults, was on the autism spectrum, which explains what was going on, to a degree.  It’s not a sufficient explanation because Mozart, for instance, was almost certainly autistic, and yet his ailment (which informed his genius) was a gift to humanity.

What strikes me about Adam Lanza is his self-centeredness.  Sources suggest that his mother wanted to institutionalize him, which, to be sure, sounds scary.  But check out what appears to be his rationale for the rampage: he felt his mother, the woman, who, whatever her faults, literally gave her life to him, loved a kindergarten class where she did some volunteer work more than her son, which prompted him to assassinate both his mother and her 6-year-olds.  Adam Lanza thought his mama didn’t love him enough.  That’s beyond Dostoevsky.  While some critics suggest that Roskolnikov’s figure is vaguely matricidal, Dostoevsky could not consciously imagine a son who felt that the woman who gave him life was insufficiently devoted.

Adam Lanza is so spoiled rotten American.  I don’t doubt that there were dangerous autistic people in Austria in Mozart’s time and that plenty of men and women who get autism diagnosis today are responsible gun owners.  And yet the alleged rational for the mass shooting sounds so very contemporary American kid talk.  Granted, that’s an explanation proposed by some third person, not the perpetrator himself, but jealousy does seem to be a motive.

The killer might had been wired differently from his peers, but he was functional enough to soak up the anxieties common to last several generations of Americans.  They might be some of the most privileged people in history (even the ones who, unlike Adam Lanza, weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth) growing up in spacious estates with dotting mothers watching their every move.  But they are perfectly content nurturing resentment of mom and dad and feel the need of spending years on a shrink’s couch pontificating about their feelings. I suspect that Lanza was not the only 20-year-old in his neighborhood who never had a job.  He didn’t move out of the house, but how many of his former classmates will end up boomerang kids, returning to their childhood rooms (and video game collections) after college?

I have no to tax the hell out of the 1%.  But my problem with them is this: so many upper middle class/upper class parents today forgo moral education.  Everything is relative and any behavior is explained away.  High school students are less likely to have part time jobs because they are busy with college prep classes.  This is the environment in which the Newtown killer was raised.  I’m not going to blame his mother; I suspect she didn’t do anything radically different from what any other woman of her background would do had she had a mad genius for a child.  It’s just that a little more moral education wouldn’t have hurt Adam Lanza — or any other American kid for that matter.  Too many privileged kids today do things because they can, even if that means murder.

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